Update on FY11 Appropriations

December 7, 2010
by Jen Maurer, Sr. Policy Associate

The 2011 fiscal year (FY11) started October 1, but the House and Senate could not come to agreement on a budget. As a stop-gap measure, they passed a Continuing Resolution (CR) until December 3 in order to continuing funding the government. Last week, before the expiration of the December 3 CR, a new CR was passed to fund the government until December 18. A CR continues current funding levels (so the prior fiscal year) unless amended.

What happens now? By December 18, Congress can either pass another short-term CR or a CR for the rest of FY11 (a CR can be any length of time), or they can pass a FY11 Omnibus. An Omnibus is a collection of bills — in this case, all 12 of the appropriations bills.

Many Republicans are pushing for a short-term CR until next year, when they can have the opportunity to cut funding in the final FY11 Omnibus.

Senator Inouye, chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, is working intently to pass an Omnibus rather than a CR. Outgoing Sen. Bennett of Utah has stated he would support an Omnibus.

The current CR funds the International Affairs Budget at the FY10 level of $51.1 billion, which is $7.7 billion below the president’s FY11 request and approximately $5 billion below the Senate and House approved levels.

If an Omnibus is passed this year, it will likely fund the International Affairs Budget by approximately $3 billion more than the CR because the Senate Appropriations Committee approved $56.2 billion for the International Affairs Budget, and the McCaskill-Sessions proposal will likely pass, which reduces non-defense discretionary spending by $6 billion overall, leaving the International Affairs Budget at about $54 billion.

Stay tuned. It’s going to get interesting.

Read our step-by-step backgrounder on the budget and appropriations process to learn more.

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